Elane Photography: New Mexico Supreme Court Rule Against Religious Freedom

Elane Photography: New Mexico Supreme Court Rule Against Religious Freedom

Reserve the right to refuse serviceDiane Robertson

Have you ever been to a place of business with a sign that says “We may refuse business for any reason”? In my city, the Humane Society has a sign like that. It is perfectly legal for them to refuse adoption of an animal to anyone for any reason. What about all of the signs that read: no shirt, no shoes, no service?

Apparently, in New Mexico some business owners can’t refuse service to some customers anymore.

Thursday, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled against Elane Photography. For religious reasons, Jonathan and Elane Huguenin refused to be the photographers for the lesbian commitment ceremony of Vanessa Willock. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that by refusing service, Elane Photography violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA).

NMHRA “prohibits a public accommodation from refusing to offer its services to a person based on that person’s sexual orientation.” New Mexico Supreme Court Judges ruled in favor of a law that clearly violates the supreme law of the land– The United States Constitution. The first amendment to the Constitution written by James Madison clearly states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

NMHRA is a law that “prohibits the free exercise” of religious beliefs. Religious freedom is not intended to simply allow individual’s the right to attend religious ceremonies. Religious freedom allows individuals the freedom to exercise those beliefs by acting, thinking, and speaking according to their conscience.

Justice Richard C. Bosson wrote that the case “provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice.” He stated, the case “teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less.”

The New Mexico Supreme Court judges ignored the first amendment by applying a common interpretation of the “equal protection clause” of the 14th amendment. The equal protection clause states:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”.

A violation of the equal protection clause would occur if a state prohibited employment of an individual simply because of the person’s race. However, the equal protection clause was not intended to provide “equality”. It is simply there to provide equal application of the law.

NMHRA does not provide equal application of the law. It would be perfectly legal for a homosexual photographer to refuse service to a Christian couple because the Christian couple has a religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

In recent years, it has been a trend to take this clause and apply Strict Scrutiny: the most stringent standard of judicial review used by United States courts to weigh the government’s interest against a constitutional right or principle.  This gave the New Mexico Supreme Court the lead they took to rule against the Constitution, clearly making different groups unequal before the law.

Judge Bosson continued by stating that the owners of Elane Photography, Jonathan and Elane Huguenin, “are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish”.  However they may not say what they wish to say or act upon their consciences because apparently in the “world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different.” Of course, those citizens who are protected under non-discrimination laws like NMHRA are not required to “channel their conduct…so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different.”

Judge Bosson concludes that forcing Christians to act against their conscience is just “the price of citizenship.”

Elane Photography is ordered to pay Willock, the original $6,637.94 in attorney’s fees and costs order by the New Mexico Human Rights Council.

For more on this topic, go here:   “A Bad Picture in New Mexico:  State Supreme Court Tramples Christian Beliefs”


  • peter tor-kilsen
    Posted at 15:50h, 27 August

    And yet the New Zealand government violates the Human Rights Act; Will United Families International report and uphold the TRUTH; Jesus Christ is ‘THE TRUTH’.

    Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2013 21:17:40 +0000 To: [email protected]

  • alessandrareflections
    Posted at 14:02h, 15 September

    Excellent article.
    I simply do not understand how these cases can be framed as discrimination from
    a legal standpoint. The provider is refusing to provide service
    because they would be serving a destructive political and social agenda.
    These are freedom of conscience cases, much more than
    freedom of speech. The compelled speech is just the type of
    compelled behavior (working for people who are destroying society
    because of their political agenda). It’s no different than being asked
    to take photographs of a Neo-Nazi event or a porn shoot and
    refusing.There is no such thing as equating “sexual orientation” to race
    (or any in-born physical characteristics), thus legislation that equate
    it to racial discrimination is empty of meaning. It is a fraudulent
    concept at its very root. This is just one more case that evidences that
    every piece of legislation regarding discrimination based on sexual
    orientation is a fraud and must be scrapped. Lastly, and the most important
    point in all of this, is that once you establish a “protected class” for
    whom different laws apply, you’ve clearly done away
    with equal protection before the law.

    Thus, everyone has a most fundamental right to discriminate based on
    sexual ideology and behavior. The right to total discrimination against
    others pushing pornography onto you is a fundamental human right. The
    right to total discrimination against prostitution, sexualization of
    kids, S&M, etc., is a fundamental human right. And so it is with
    people pushing a noxious and ignorant homosexuality agenda that
    normalizes homosexuality instead of trying to resolve it. Everyone who
    has such problems (LGBTs) is responsible for investigating their
    underlying psychological problems that produce their dysfunctional
    sexual psychologies.

    Lastly, given the zeitgeist then, it was a nice surprise to see that a
    poll taken recently says 85% of those asked are in support of Elaine! A
    wonderful turn of events for the lesbians using the State to
    harass this wonderful couple. With Kennedy and the lipstick-on-a-pig
    Kagan though, I’m not hopeful at all about the Supremes.

    I have been blogging on how the liberal homosexuality agenda is incompatible with democracy for awhile.

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